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The Boston Celtics began the 2017-18 NBA season by dropping Games 1 and 2 to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks respectively.
But, since then, they’ve gone on a five-game winning streak, most recently defeating the San Antonio Spurs by 14. In doing so, they became the first team in 15 years to follow up two opening losses with five or more straight victories, per NBA Stats.
After losing All-Star offseason addition Gordon Hayward to a broken tibia and dislocated ankle during the opener, the Celtics have been forced to drastically alter their game plan. In Hayward’s place, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are each seeing over 30 minutes per game, posting 15.4 points and 14.0 points per contest, respectively.
The loss of Hayward has also put more pressure on Kyrie Irving, who was acquired in the offseason via trade from the Cavaliers after expressing interest in playing elsewhere. After seven games, the point guard is averaging 21.7 points, 5.7 badists and 2.4 steals per contest.
Overall, the team has succeeded this season by playing stingy defense and rebounding well. Prior to Tuesday’s games, the Celtics ranked among the top five in defensive rebounding, forced steals and both opponent field-goal and three-point percentage.
Next up for Boston are the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, who have been one of the worst teams in the league so far, compiling the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 1-5.